Rains flood low-lying areas of Doha

 27 Mar 2014 - 5:05


Vehicles caught in a flooded underpass on Salwa Road after heavy rains in Doha yesterday. 

DOHA: Heavy rains disrupted life in the city yesterday, leaving many low-lying areas inundated, especially one of the tunnels on Salwa Road.
The Qatar Décor underpass on Salwa Road was flooded by the downpour that lashed the country since the late hours of Tuesday.
A number of motorists heading from Doha to Industrial Area were caught in the tunnel for hours as water rose waist-high after intermittent rains continued until afternoon yesterday. Social networking sites were abuzz with reports and comments about the flooding, with people posting pictures of half-sunk vehicles that got stuck in the deluge. Traffic came to a standstill on the highway during peak hours.
Police later closed the Qatar Décor underpass temporarily and diverted traffic to other roads, causing congestion in the area. Despite efforts by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) to pump out water from the underpass, the traffic disruption continued until evening.
Ashghal said yesterday that the flooding was caused due to incomplete work on the underground drainage network on Salwa Road. 
“Salwa Road has an efficient and deep water drainage system including pipes with large diametres, providing high drainage capacity for surface water. However, as the project’s underground drainage connection to the sea through Abu Hamour network is not yet constructed, Salwa Road drainage network is currently used to receive and store surface water inside the pipes only as a temporary procedure till the main drainage network is ready to streamline the water to the sea as planned,” Ashghal said in a statement.
Ashghal said it had deployed tanks and suction pumps immediately to handle the waterlogging as “the pipes reached their maximum capacity within a very short time due to heavy rains.”
Senior Ashghal engineers and officials from the Traffic Department were present in the area yesterday to supervise the operation.
The unstable weather in Qatar over the past two days forced some Doha-bound flights to land at neighbouring airports, Al Sharq reported yesterday quoting a senior official of the Civil Aviation Authority. The Ministry of Interior on its Twitter account informed the public about the temporary closure of the Salwa Road tunnel and advised motorists to exercise caution while driving in rain and low visibility.
Nouf Al Malki, services department director at Doha Municipality said the emergency team at the municipality pumped out water from several low-lying areas in Doha, including Duhail, Airport, Al Hilal and Al Dafna.
The Meteorology Department said yesterday that most parts of the country received moderate to heavy rains yesterday. The downpour is not likely to continue today, although there is a chance of light rains in some areas.
“We are yet to obtain data about the rain in different areas. But many parts of the country received heavy rains,” a senior official of the Department told this daily last evening.
The Department had earlier forecast strong winds and thundershowers this week, as an extension of a low pressure area in southwestern Saudi Arabia. 
The Peninsula